Portland police said a man bashed naked bike riders with a metal pipe last month — and hollered a gay slur amid the attack, which resulted in hate crime charges against him as well as assault charges.
What are the details?
A group of nine unclothed cyclists were on a bike ride June 3 near Northwest 19th Avenue and Flanders Street in the city's Nob Hill neighborhood when 39-year-old Robert Houchins allegedly confronted them, KGW-TV reported, citing a probable cause affidavit.
Houchins picked up a 3-foot metal pipe and hit two of the men while yelling "get out of here" as well as a homophobic slur, the station said, citing the affidavit.
Court documents noted one of the victims identifies as gay, KGW said.
A witness told police Houchins swung the pipe "baseball-like" and hit the victims across the back, the station said, adding that the extent to which the victims were hurt or injured is unclear.
Police arrested Houchins near the crime scene and said he was in possession of a pipe, KGW reported.
Houchins, who has no listed address, faces charges including second-degree assault, unlawful use of a weapon, and first-degree bias crime, the legal term for a hate crime, KPTV-TV reported.
Houchins on Monday morning remained behind bars; jail information indicates there is no projected release date for him.
KPTV added that Houchins has a record of at least past 28 convictions including aggravated sex abuse, arson, and theft and has failed to appear in court roughly 45 times in prior occasions.
How are folks reacting?
A number of commenters reacting to KGW's YouTube video report on the incident weren't too sympathetic to the naked bike riders:
- "If you really want to know where this country is on the timeline to collapse, this should give you a pretty good idea," one commenter wrote. "I was not aware public nudity was legal anywhere in the U.S., but I guess I was wrong. The fact that everybody is on the side of the naked cyclists really emphasizes the perverse minds of people in these days."
- "I get it — you can't beat people and use slurs," another commenter offered. "But at what point does cynical, provocative behavior become recognized as the root cause of this attack? Or can you do anything you want to incite people as long as you are on the correct political side and/or have an appropriate historical oppression scale ranking?"
- "Perhaps he is tired of seeing perverse behavior being ignored," another commenter noted. "Aristotle once quoted, 'Tolerance and Apathy are the last virtues of a dying society,' and the West Coast is well on its way."
Naked cyclists attacked with metal pipe in alleged hate crimeyoutu.be
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